A life-size statue of RNLI lifeboat disaster survivor Henry Freeman can be built in Whitby, the council has said.

North Yorkshire Council approved the building of the statue celebrating Whitby’s maritime lifesaving history on Monday.

The statue of Henry Freeman will be built on the left side of the steps at the bottom of Whitby’s Khyber Pass as part of a plan for an ‘RNLI-themed garden’.

Freeman was the sole survivor of an attempt by Whitby lifeboat crews to rescue vessels stricken by a huge storm in February 1861.

He was awarded an RNLI Silver Medal for the courage and determination he displayed, later becoming the Whitby RNLI Coxswain for more than 20 years.

Darlington and Stockton Times: An artist's impression of the proposed sculpture of Henry Freeman, Whitby

The plan was supported by the town council and Whitby Civic Society and approved by the planning authority on Monday.

The wire sculpture will form part of an existing series of sculptures known as the Whitby Sculpture Trail.

The trail depicts several notable figures in homage to the heritage and history of the town.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Henry Freeman statue location, Whitby

North Yorkshire Council said that the Freeman sculpture would contribute positively to the heritage of the town and would preserve the character of Whitby’s designated conservation area.

As 2024 is the RNLI’s 200th anniversary, the charity said it “would be an excellent time to celebrate the town’s long history of maritime lifesaving”.

The RNLI said: “We think the sculpture would be an asset to the town, enhancing the appearance of the Khyber Pass area.

“[It would also] drive visitors to the RNLI museum and shop, which helps to raise money for the charity.”

Emma Stothard’s galvanised wire statue aims to coincide with a council plan to “make the gardens on Khyber Pass Whitby into an RNLI-themed garden”.

The sculpture is also set to incorporate a charity collection box which would be emptied by the local lifeboat station’s staff.

The subject of the statue, Henry Freeman, was born on April 29, 1835 in Bridlington, Yorkshire.

According to the RNLI, he moved to Whitby in 1855 to become a fisherman and joined the local lifeboat crew.